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Peck Family

Peck-Sisson-White Family Papers
1772-1975 (Bulk: 1830-1875)
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 933

Perez Peck (1786-1876) and Asa Sisson (1815-1893) of the village of Anthony (Coventry), R.I., were innovative machinists and manufacturers of cotton looms. Active members of the Society of Friends, they were supporters of the antislavery struggle and sent their children to the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I.

Although the Peck-Sisson-White family collection spans three families and three generations, the bulk of material is concentrated on the lives of Asa Sisson and his wife Mary Ann (Peck) and their daughter Emily, who married Willis H. White, with an emphasis on their poetry and their time at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. The family also copied verse from other writers, including works from George Miller (not otherwise identified) extracting Anthony Benezet and “Remarks on encouraging slavery” and a “lamentation over New England” which touches on the execution of early Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016
Subjects
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Death--Poetry
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Quakers--Rhode Island
Contributors
  • Peck, Perez, 1786-1876
  • Sisson, Asa, 1815-1893
  • Sisson, Mary Ann, 1816-1882
  • White, Emily Sisson, 1856-1945
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Poetry

Politella Family

Politella Family Papers
1915-2004 (Bulk: 1938-1956)
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 885
Image of Dario, Antonio, Lillian, and Joseph Politella in Amherst, ca.1930
Dario, Antonio, Lillian, and Joseph Politella in Amherst, ca.1930

When Antonio Politella emigrated from Italy to Lawrence, Mass., in 1910, he joined an older half-brother Walter Pollano, but left behind his wife and infant son. Working as a pharmacist under Pollano, Politella was successful enough to reunite his family in 1919, and eventually raised a family of three, all of whom went on to earn undergraduate degrees at Massachusetts State College and dedicate their lives to education. The eldest child, Joseph (’33), served in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, earned a PhD in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and taught in eastern religions at Kent State University. Lillian (’42) became a French teacher, while Dario (’47), an aviator during the war, earned his doctorate at Syracuse and taught journalism at UMass Amherst for many years.

The Politella family collection contains correspondence received primarily by Lillian Politella (’42), the bulk of which reflects the impact on the war on both her family and college. Among the letters are dozens written by her brothers Joseph (’33) and Dario (’47) and friend Donald W. Cadigan (’39) while in the service, which are joined by an evocative series from their teacher and mentor, Ray Ethan Torrey. Torrey’s letters in particular offer insight into Mass. State College during and after the war and are replete with news about acquaintances and complaints about liberals and current events.

Gift of Norma E. Parras, Nov. 2015
Subjects
  • Buddhism--Study and teaching
  • Hinduism--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts State College--History
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • Mysticism
  • Theosophy
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Politella, Dario
  • Politella, Joseph
  • Politella, V. Lillian
  • Torrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-1956
Types of material
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Thayer Family Industries

Thayer Family Industries Ledger
1847-1855
1 vol. (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 238 bd

The Thayer family operated a small manufacturing complex on the Deerfield River in Charlemont, Massachusetts. Businesses included a sawmill, a foundry, a shop for the manufacture of axes and edged tools, and a tannery. Ledger documents their businesses and reflects the exchange economy of rural Massachusetts.

Subjects
  • Axe industry--Massachusetts--Charlemont--History--19th century
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Charlemont--History--19th century
  • Charlemont (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Charlemont (Mass.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Foundries--Massachusetts--Charlemont--History--19th century
  • Kingsley, Edmond
  • Manufacturing industries--Massachusetts--Charlemont--History--19th century
  • Sawmills--Massachusetts--Charlemont--History--19th century
  • Tanneries--Massachusetts--Charlemont--History--19th century
  • Thayer family
  • Thayer, Alonzo, 1817-
  • Thayer, Ruel, 1785-
  • Thayer, Ruel, 1824-
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Charlemont--History--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books

Trent family

Trent Family Papers
1850-1996
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 373

Five generations of an African-American family that achieved commercial success and wealth through the restaurant and catering business as well as extensive real estate investments at the turn of the 20th century in New York City, Brooklyn, and Sea Cliff, Long Island, New York. Includes letters, public and church records, news clippings, ephemera, a videotape, and 87 photographs.

Subjects
  • African American capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
  • African American families--New York (State)--History
  • African Americans--Genealogy--Handbooks, manuals, etc
  • African Americans--New York (State)--Biography
  • African Americans--New York (State)--Social life and customs
  • Burleigh, H. T. (Harry Thacker), 1866-1949
  • Capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
  • Fuller, Meta Warrick, 1877-1968
  • Landowners--New York (State)--Biography
  • Restauranteurs--New York (State)--Biography
  • Smith family
  • Smith, William H. (William Henry), 1836-1923
  • Trent family
Types of material
  • Baptismal certificates
  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Photographs
  • Vital statistics records
  • Wills

Barton, George W.

George W. Barton Papers
1889-1984 (Bulk: 1914-1920)
(4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 050 B37

George W. Barton was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1896. After attending Concord High School in Concord, Barton began his studies in horticulture and agriculture at Massachusetts Agricultural College.

The Barton collection includes diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, announcements, and his herbarium, and relates primarily to his career at the Massachusetts Agricultural College where he studied horticulture and agriculture from 1914-1918.

Subjects
  • Botany--Study and teaching
  • Horticulture--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
Contributors
  • Barton, George W
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Herbaria
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Cemetery Inscriptions Collection

Cemetery Inscriptions Collection
1902-2005
4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 669

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

Consisting of self-published and limited-run compilations of gravestone transcriptions from historical cemeteries, the AGS Cemetery Inscriptions Collection offers rich documentation of epitaphs and memorial language, with an emphasis on colonial and early national-era in New England and Ohio. The collection is arranged by state and town.

Subjects
  • Gravestones
  • Inscriptions
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies

Fenwick, John

John Fenwick Collection of Radcliffiana
1601-1853
3 vols. (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 989
Image of The case of the six lords condemned for high treason
The case of the six lords condemned for high treason

The title Earl of Derwentwater was created under King James II in 1688 for Francis Radcliffe of Northumberland, and for sixty years thereafter, members of the Radcliffe family stood among the most prominent Jacobites in the north of England. One of Francis’ grandson, James, the third Earl of Derwentwater, became embroiled in the Rebellion of 1715 and was beheaded in the London Tower for high treason, and another son, Charles, the so-called 4th Earl, was beheaded for his part in the Rebellion of 1745.

Assembled by John Fenwick, who may have been a distant relative of the Radcliffes, this collection of Radcliffiana includes a mixture of original documents, 19th century transcriptions of originals, published works, and prints, all pertaining to the Jacobite Earls of Derwentwater. Set into paper frames and bound into more or less elaborate leather volumes, the documents cover the period from the English Civil War through the fallout after the execution of the 3rd Earl. They are focused primarily on the personal fates of the Earls, their Northumberland estates, and the genealogy of the Radcliffe family.

Provenance unknown
Subjects
  • Estates (Law)--England
  • Jacobite Rebellion, 1715
  • Jacobite Rebellion, 1745-1746
  • Northumberland (England)--History
Contributors
  • Derwentwater, Francis, Earl of, 1625-1697
  • Derwentwater, James Radcliffe, Earl of, 1689-1716
Types of material
  • Genealogies (Histories)
  • Maps
  • Prints

Francis, Robert, 1901-1987

Robert Francis Papers
1891-1988
17 boxes (8.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 403
Image of Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh,<br />Nov. 1939
Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh,
Nov. 1939

The poet and essayist Robert Francis settled in Amherst, Mass., in 1926, three years after his graduation from Harvard, and created a literary life that stretched for the better part of half a century. An associate of Robert Frost and friend of many other writers, Francis occasionally worked as a teacher or lecturer, including a brief stint on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, but he sustained himself largely through his writing, living simply in “Fort Juniper,” a cottage he built on Market Hill Road in North Amherst. A recipient of the Shelley Award (1939) and the Academy of American Poets award for distinguished poetic achievement (1984), Francis was a poet in residence at both Tufts (1955) and Harvard (1960) Universities. He died in Amherst in July 1987.

The Francis Papers contains both manuscript and printed materials, drafts and finished words, documenting the illustrious career of the poet. Of particular note is Francis’s correspondence with other writers, publishing houses, and readers, notably Paul Theroux. Also contains personal photographs and Francis family records and a small number of audio recordings of Francis reading his poetry. Letters from Francis to Regina Codey, 1936-1978, can be found in MS 314 along with two typescript poems by Francis.

Connect to another siteListen to interviews with Francis on Poems to a Listener", 1977-1978
Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Poetry--Publishing
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Press
Contributors
  • Brown, Rosellen
  • Ciardi, John, 1916-
  • De Vries, Peter
  • Fitts, Dudley, 1903-
  • Francis, Robert, 1901-1987
  • Hall, Donald, 1928-
  • Humphries, Rolfe
  • Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
  • Moss, Howard, 1922-
  • Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972
  • Theroux, Paul
  • Wilbur, Richard, 1921-
Types of material
  • Audiotapes
  • Phonograph records
  • Photographs

Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Gordon Heath Papers
1913-1992
44 boxes (22.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
Image of Gordon Heath, Paris
Gordon Heath, Paris

A multi-talented performer, the African American expatriate Gordon Heath was variously a stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris, and co-owner of the Parisian nightclub L’Abbaye. Born in New York City, Heath became involved in acting as a teenager and enjoyed a career that spanned post-World War II Broadway to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. In addition to his many roles on film and stage, he and his partner Lee Payant enjoyed success as recording artists in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Heath collection includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended. The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.

Subjects
  • Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
  • African American actors--France--Paris--History
  • African American singers--France--Paris--History
  • African Americans in the performing arts--History
  • African-American theater--History--20th century
  • Baldwin, James, 1924-
  • Chametzky, Jules
  • Dodson, Owen, 1914-
  • Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
  • Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
  • Musicians--United States--History
  • Nightclubs--France--Paris--History
  • Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Payant, Lee--Correspondence
  • Primus, Pearl
  • Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Studio Theater of Paris
  • Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History
Contributors
  • Abramson, Doris E
  • Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scripts
  • Sheet music
  • Sketches

Hill, Aurin F.

Aurin F. Hill Papers
1885-1929
8 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 579
Image of Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,<br />ca.1928
Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,
ca.1928

The self-styled “insane architect” Aurin F. Hill (b. 1853) was a free thinking carpenter and architect in Boston who waged a concerted campaign for his vision of social reform at the turn of the twentieth century. A Spiritualist, social radical, and union man, Hill carried the torch for issues ranging from the nationalization of railroads and corporations to civil rights and women’s rights, and joined in opposition to vaccination, Comstockery and censorship, capital punishment, and lynching. A writing medium, married to the Spiritual evangelist Izetta Sears-Hill, he became President of the National Spiritual Alliance in 1915, a Spiritualist organization based in Lake Pleasant, Mass.

Esoteric, rambling, and often difficult to follow, the Hill papers provide profound insight into the eclectic mind of an important Boston Spiritualist and labor activist at the turn of the twentieth century. Whether written as a diary or scattered notes, a scrapbook, essays, or letters to the editor, Hill’s writings cover a wide range of topics, from spirit influence to labor law, from his confinements for insanity to police strikes, hypnotism, reincarnation, and housing. More than just a reflection of one man’s psychology, the collection reveals much about broader social attitudes toward gender and race, sexuality, urban life, politics, and religion, and the collection is a particularly important resource for the history of the American Spiritualist movement between 1890 and 1920.

Subjects
  • Architects--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Hypnotism
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Montague (Mass.)--History
  • National Spiritual Alliance
  • Spiritualism
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Contributors
  • Hill, Aurin F.
  • Sears-Hill, Izetta B.
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Scrapbooks
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